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[SPORTS] Hapa Skateboarding Legend - Christian Hosoi

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  • madchinaman
    WHO IS CHRISTIAN HOSOI? http://www.effection.net/hosoi/overight.html http://www.skatelegends.com/christian_hosoi.htm http://www.hosoiskates.com/ Video:
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 24, 2006
      Video: http://www.visionfilms.net/hosoitrailer.html
      YouTube Video Testimony: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCdxNkXnjpA


      Boasting dual citizenship in LA and Hawaii for his 33 years
      (mirroring a Japanese/Caucasian heritage),


      I had just gotten off the phone with Christian Hosoi, and I felt
      giddy like a little pony. This was a poignant sense of
      accomplishment and also a certain sympathy for a skateboarding idol
      who had burnt a flamboyantly arcing path as a top pro skater during
      the 80's. Hosoi spoke to me from San Bernardino Federal where he is
      presently awaiting trial on possession charges. There's almost too
      much to say about Christian Hosoi; from the childhood skateboard
      roots in 70's LA, to the stardom in the punk rock revival of Venice
      Beach skateboarding during the 80's. His story runs deep, a faction
      of the history of skateboarding itself.

      Boasting dual citizenship in LA and Hawaii for his 33 years
      (mirroring a Japanese/Caucasian heritage), Hosoi started skating at
      5 with veterans like Shogo Kubo, Tony Alva, Stacy Peralta, and Jay
      Adams as models. These were the pioneers of the urethane wheeled
      revolution; skating ramps and dried pools along with boardwalks and
      driveways in the late 70's. Hosoi developed as a skater in Venice
      Beach's Dogtown scene, which has and still plays a huge role in
      defining skateboarding culture. Blowing up was easy for Hosoi, born
      and raised in a pot that was pretty much a school for the
      advancement of pop-culture.

      Skating fell off around 1980 as the California style trend buckled,
      resurfacing huge again in the mid 80's with the national exposure of
      the Bones Brigade, Vision Streetware, and Vans. Dogtown Skates and
      Jimmy'Z rider Christian Hosoi came back as one of the new rulers of
      the landsled alongside pros such as Caballero, Tony Hawk, Jeff
      Kendall, and Nautas Kaupas. Pulling tricks like Christ and Rocket
      airs consistently head high, while rocking day-glo spandex shorts,
      long hair, ripped t-shirts and headbands jacked Hosoi into the vein
      of hugely successful pro skating. National competition through Frank
      Hawk's National Skateboarding Association (NSA) and major corporate
      endorsement put the Wheaties in the bank accounts for top
      professional skaters such as Hosoi. Hollywood of course went nuts on
      the new stylemakers, co-opting and marketing skating's fresh, young
      athletes, and their rebellious punk rock attitude for movies such
      as 'Thrashin' and 'Gleaming the Cube'. Holmes was there. He rocked
      the skateboard industry as well, pioneering the first professionally
      endorsed wheel from Santa Cruz Skateboards, OJ II's called 'Hosoi
      Rockets' and eventually forming his own Hosoi Hammerhead Skates with
      the rock hard 7 ply maple board shaped like the shark. Kids, betties
      and Converse loved him.

      Hosoi's rockstar skater lifestyle bombed with the Downfall of
      Skating Part II, as a depression hit the US in the early 90's,
      throwing skaters from commercial success back to the streets (where
      they belong). Hosoi disappeared from the scene after financial
      difficulties with a couple more skateboard companies, and had been
      seen only by the chosen few until news of his arrest and
      incarceration, in early 2000. Holmes had been running from troubles
      with drugs for a while, evading the law for minor charges until
      popped with a very serious, very federal offense in early 2000:
      trafficking narcotics across state lines, from LA to Hawaii. Facing
      a 10 year mandatory prison sentence, Hosoi has been forced to settle
      down and re-examine his role as a Christian, father, son, fiancée
      and possible positive skateboarding role model.

      I recently came in contact with Christian's fiancée, Jennifer Lee
      Hosoi online, in a bulletin board discussion I had started
      titled "Best Locked up Skateboarder" at Giant Robot, which had
      polled opinions over Hosoi and Mark 'Gator' Rogowski (killed
      girlfriend's best friend). Jennifer had at first thought the
      discussion rather tasteless and wrote me, defending Hosoi from such
      online attacks against his character. I quickly replied back and
      explained myself as a very interested designer researching a very
      cool public's opinion about a legend in search of content for a
      Hosoi info/fan site. I immediately asked for an interview, which she
      very nicely set up with the understanding that I would help get the
      word out about Hosoi's life. I enthusiastically agreed. I present to
      you, a recorded conversation between Christian Hosoi and myself,
      comprised of questions for Hosoi compiled by myself and friends who
      have always wanted to ask the legend questions.
      - Jay Hakkinen -


      Christian Hosoi
      From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

      Christian Rosha Hosoi (born October 5, 1967 in USA) is a
      professional skateboarder. He was also known by the
      nicknames "Christ" and "Holmes". Hosoi, along with Tony Hawk, was
      the most popular skateboarder for the better part of the 1980's.
      Hosoi is married to Jennifer Lee and has one son, Rhythm Hosoi. He
      is currently living in Huntington Beach, California.

      Early skateboard career
      Hosoi started skating at five years old with veterans such as Shogo
      Kubo, Tony Alva, Stacy Peralta, and Jay Adams as models. His father,
      Ivan "Pops" Hosoi became the manager of the Marina Del Ray
      Skatepark, and Christian quit school and spent his time at the
      skatepark where he quickly developed his skateboarding talent. In
      1979 Hosoi was sponsored by Powell Peralta. He left a year later
      when Powell Peralta would not turn him pro, and he joined Dogtown
      Skateboards which went out of business shortly thereafter. He turned
      pro at the age of 14 with Sims Skateboards.

      Christian Hosoi emerged as one of the top competitors of vert riding
      alongside such pros as Steve Caballero, Mike McGill, Lester Kasai,
      and Mark "Gator" Rogowski with an eventual rivalry developing with
      Tony Hawk with contrasting styles in both skateboarding and
      lifestyles —Hosoi, known for his flair and graceful style, and Hawk
      raising the bar with his technical ability and difficult tricks.
      Hosoi invented the Christ Air and Rocket Air, and was renouned for
      pulling huge aerials; at one point holding the world record.
      Vertical skateboarding grew in spectator popularity with prize money
      to match. This, combined with major endorsements with Converse,
      Swatch, and Jimmy'Z, as well as receiving a pro model wheel, the OJ
      II Hosoi Rocket through Santa Cruz Speed Wheels, earned Hosoi more
      money than he'd ever dreamed of. In 1984 he formed his own company
      Hosoi Skates, first through Skull Skates, then through NHS/Santa
      Cruz, and released his signature and iconic Hammerhead model, with
      the shape inspired by the namesake shark, which proved so popular it
      was couterfeited.[1] When street skating began to emerge in the mid-
      to-late 80s, Hosoi proved a threat as well, winning both the vert
      and street contests at the Lotte Cup contest in Japan in 1989.[2]

      Hosoi's skateboard career began to falter as a recession hit the US
      in the early 1990s, and skateboarding underwent a revolution with
      street skating becoming the dominant discipline, overshadowing the
      superstars of the previous decade and ushering a new generation of
      pros, with dwindling coverage of vertical riding in magazines and
      videos. Hosoi faced bankruptcy after financial difficulties with a
      series of failed skateboard companies; Tuff Sk8s, Sk8 Kultur, Milk,
      and Focus, in addition to a growing addiction to drugs. Hosoi had
      been evading the law, with two minor offenses and a warrant for his
      arrest for failing to appear in court while on bail since 1995. This
      further pushed Christian into obscurity, as he avoided competitions
      and demos, including declining and invitation to the first X Games
      (then the Extreme Games), which was going to be marketed as a
      renewed rivalry between Hawk and Hosoi. The X Games would prove to
      be a turning point for Hawk —it revived the interest in vert
      skateboarding (and skateboarding in general) and he would go on to
      achieve some of his greatest skateboarding accomplishments as well
      as international fame and fortune unlike any other point in his
      career. Christian was finally captured in January 2000 at the
      Honolulu airport. He was apprehended while attempting to transport
      1½ pounds of crystal methamphetamine from Los Angeles to Hawaii. He
      was charged with traffiking with the intent to distribute, a federal
      crime, and Hosoi's third strike. He was sentenced to 10 years. Hosoi
      was incarcerated at the San Bernadino Central Detention Center.

      While in prison, Hosoi married girlfriend Jennifer Lee, became a
      born again Christian through the urging of his wife and her uncle
      Christopher Swain, a pastor, as well as earning his high school
      diploma. He was supported by the skate industry while in prison,
      receiving a pro model deck though the Red Kross/Emergency division
      of Black Label Skateboards, as well a tribute deck by Shorty's and
      Chad Muska featuring an homage to Hosoi's first pro model deck on
      Sims with the Rising Sun graphic, and guest decks through Mark
      Gonzales' Krooked Skateboards and Pocket Pistols Skateboards, the
      latter two releasing decks in the famous Hammerhead shape. In June
      2004 Hosoi's sentence was reduced for good behavior and he was
      released on parole. Hosoi continues to be open about his new found
      faith, having become ordained as an associate pastor, and has
      resumed his skateboarding career.

      Hosoi was back on a skateboard within two weeks of his release,
      having not stepped on one during his five years in prison.[3] He
      quickly demonstrated his innate skateboard talent, pulling off big
      airs with the style and grace he was revered for. He has since left
      Black Label, and has once again in the process of restarting Hosoi
      Skateboards, through Pocket Pistols. He has appeared in Stephen
      Baldwin's Livin' It LA a Christian-themed skateboard DVD. In 2006 he
      signed with Vans, receiving a pro model shoe, the Hosoi Sk8-Hi[4]
      featuring the Rising Sun graphic that adorned his debut pro model
      deck with Sims. He will also be featured in the upcoming Tony Hawk's
      Project 8 video game.

      Current Sponsors
      Hosoi Skateboards
      Independent Trucks
      Ogio Backpacks
      Ninja Bearings
      Khiro Bushings
      Pro-Tec helmets

      Contest history
      Placed in top 5 in 1980 Van's/Offshore Amateur State Finals
      (California) in boys 11-13 division.

      1st in 1985 NSA Summer Series #5 (Vancouver, BC): pro vert.
      2nd in 1986 Expo 86 (Vancouver, BC): vert
      1st in 1988 Vision Skate Escape: vert.
      1st in 1988 Titus World Cup (Germany): vert.


      Last Words: Christian Hosoi

      Last group of people you skated with: Steve Caballero, Lance
      Mountain, Mike McGill, Stacy Peralta, Steve Olson, and Jay Smith at
      the Santa Monica skatepark three days ago.

      Last trick you did that made you think, "Damn that felt good": A
      backside ollie in the Santa Monica park pool—that thing is perfect.

      Last skate video you watched: The new Quiksilver video.

      Last sponsor you acquired: Probably Pro-tec. I'm getting a signature

      Last new trick you learned: Nollie 360 pop shove-its up the Euro gap
      at an Active demo last night.

      Last Christ air you did: I did one at the Luis Palau DC Festival,
      right in front of the Capitol Building.

      Last person you saw do a Christ air: Danny Way, about twenty feet
      out on the Mega Ramp.

      Last time you wore spandex: Probably in the early 90s. Wait, no,
      maybe at Skate Escape '89 (laughs).

      Last lien at Marina Del Rey Park: I remember doing a big lien air on
      the night before they buried it.

      Last launch ramp you skated: I skated one at the KR3W warehouse with
      my son, Rhythm.

      Last time you missed the 80s: When I was sitting in prison, thinking
      about how blessed I had been during that decade.

      Last article of clothing from Jimmy'Z you rocked: Probably the

      Last time you skated with Scott Oster: Around the beginning of the
      year at the Brooklyn Projects ramp.

      Last mission you really set out to accomplish: To preach the gospel
      through skateboarding to the four corners of the Earth.

      Last new hobby you picked up: I just ordered a golf bag from Ogio. I
      guess that's a hobby—that and surfing. My pastor and I just started
      surfing. Quiksilver is making me a custom board.

      Last time you saw Gator: Like around '90, up at my ramp in

      Last phone number you dialed: My wife's. I just called her a second

      Last food you reluctantly ate: Probably a Carl's Jr. breakfast
      burrito. Wait—actually I don't really reluctantly eat anything after
      spending five years in prison. That burrito was kind of good

      Last skate-shop purchase: I don't think I've ever paid for anything.
      Praise God for skate shops. I've been blessed by many a shop.

      Last album you rebought: Call To Glory—The Uprising Tour.

      Last rap album you bought: I just got the Tupac documentary DVD, if
      that counts.

      Last book you read: Smith Wiggleworth—The Anointing Of His Spirit.

      Last band you were in: I was in the men's gospel choir at the Las
      Vegas Nellis prison camp.

      Last person you snaked: Whoever I had my last session with.

      Last Web site you visited: Caballero's MySpace.

      Last time you saw one of the dudes from Thrashin': Eddie Reategui,
      last night.

      Last publication you did an interview for: Breakaway magazine. I
      also just got the cover of Titus magazine.

      Last handrail you skated: The Brea skatepark rail with Butch

      Last thing you became addicted to: 360 flips—just trying 'em feels

      Last time you hung out with Mark Gonzales: Wow, probably back
      in '91. He and Jason Lee would come skate my ramp in Hollywood.

      Last TV show you found yourself watching: The Trinity Broadcast

      Last time you were on TV: Yesterday—The Daily Habit show on Fuel TV.

      Last shady situation you encountered: Getting arrested in 2000.

      Last piece of skateboard paraphernalia you autographed: A Quiksilver
      team poster at the Monday night skate nights I do at my Uncle Chris'
      church, the City Lights Dream Center.

      Last place you called home: The Sanctuary Church in Huntington

      Last time you surprised yourself: Almost 360 flipping up the Euro
      gap at that Active demo.

      Last idea you had for a board graphic: My new one. It's a cross with
      wings and the rising sun. Lucero drew it for me.

      Last dude that called you Holmes: Probably Jeff Grosso—at the Vans
      Pro-tec Pool Party.

      Last words with which you would like to leave us today: Give your
      life to Christ, because Heaven and Hell are real. Scripture verse
      John 14:6—Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one
      comes to the father, except through me."


      by Jennifer Jacoby-Smith

      In the 1980s' hey-day of the skateboarding world, one skater
      literally rose above the rest — Christian Hosoi. His name became
      synonymous with big air and big stunts.
      One stunt in particular, known as the Christ Air, required the
      skateboarder — while flying vertically in the air — to grab his
      board in one hand and spread his arm and
      straighten his legs. The resulting posture looks like Christ on the

      Far from a religious comment, `Christ' was the young skater's
      nickname. As the sport rose in prominence, the young prodigy's
      popularity soared. Companies clamored to get Hosoi to endorse their
      gear. By 17 he was making $350,000 a year from sponsorship deals.

      Hosoi grew up in California and Hawaii. His dad, a surfer and
      artist, bought him his first skateboard when he was five. "I was
      just hooked on it. By the time I was seven years old I carried my
      skateboard wherever I went.
      Hosoi's skills were evident early on. He got his first picture in a
      skateboarding magazine when he was just 10 years old. The publicity
      spurred his desire to become a professional skateboarder.

      His dad supported Christian's dream, getting a job as the manager of
      a skate park in Venice Beach, CA. During father-son bonding time,
      the two smoked pot together.

      A star in a rock-and-roll sport, Hosoi had the lifestyle to go with
      it: from parties to girls to the entourage who followed him
      everywhere. As the decade ended, the pro circuit died. Sponsors
      walked away and many skateboarders faced financial difficulties. In
      1993, Hosoi began using crystal methamphetamine.

      "I wanted to quit, but when you're addicted to that drug you really
      can't quit on your own," he says. "Especially if you don't have a
      foundation or faith in God." As time went on, Hosoi says life
      consisted of "basically doing as much drugs as I could." In the
      late '90s, when his girlfriend, Jennifer, announced she was quitting
      drugs and going to church, Hosoi agreed to go with her. Having never
      been inside a church before, Hosoi found the experience interesting,
      but irrelevant.

      "If you would have asked me if I was going to heaven, I would have
      said, `Yeah I'm going to heaven' — all because I thought I was a
      good person," Hosoi notes. "(I) didn't know there was a reason why I
      need to trust in Jesus. That it was because of my sin that I
      wouldn't go to heaven. Not knowing I needed a Saviour, I just
      thought I was being a good person."

      Meanwhile, to make some extra cash, Hosoi agreed to take drugs from
      Hawaii to California for a friend.

      He was subsequently caught and arrested. Facing 10 years of prison
      time, Hosoi called Jennifer in tears. "I love you, we'll get through
      this," she consoled him. "You have to just trust in God." "Trust in
      God?" Hosoi replied. "What's God going to do for me? I need a
      lawyer, babe." Jennifer insisted God would help. She directed him to
      find a Bible.

      Back in his cell, Hosoi opened God's Word for the very first
      time. "I saw Genesis. I'm like `Wow, that's a Star Trek type of
      title,' " Hosoi says. Eventually, he found himself enthralled with
      the book of I Kings. As he read something remarkable happened.
      Seeing how God interacted with King David and the prophets, Hosoi
      started to get a picture of what the Almighty was like — merciful,
      forgiving, and yet just. "It was like God speaking His truth to me,"
      remembers Hosoi. "I need to know this God."

      Three weeks later, Hosoi gave his life to Jesus Christ. During his
      four-and-a-half years in prison, Hosoi devoured the Bible. "I
      started to realize there was a reason for everything. God didn't
      want me there (in jail)," he says. "But through that experience,
      that circumstance, I was able to focus on God with no distractions."
      As Hosoi served his time, word of his remarkable conversion began to
      get around.

      Actor Stephen Baldwin, who also had a dramatic conversion to Christ
      after 9/11, began putting together a skateboarding/BMX video called
      Livin' It to share the good news of Jesus. When he heard about Hosoi
      coming to Christ, Baldwin phoned Jennifer to ask if Hosoi would like
      to be involved in the video. Hosoi loved the idea and met with
      Baldwin a week after his prison release in 2004.

      To date, Hosoi and Jennifer have been married for five years and are
      expecting their first son in October. Along with Hosoi's eight-year-
      old son Rhythm, they make their home in Huntington Beach, CA. His
      latest project is a documentary film about his life, entitled Rising
      Son, which won Best Documentary after playing at the Cannes Film
      Festival and the Malibu Film Festival. The film will be premiering
      in select cities in August. Despite being 38 years old — which is
      ancient in the world of skateboarding — Hosoi insists, "You never
      retire from pro skateboarding."

      The skater who revolutionized the sport and inspired generations now
      hopes to do it again — this time in the name of the real Christ. In
      Hosoi's words, he wants "to touch this generation in a relevant way
      for Jesus."

      He explains, "It's because God loves us so much that He gave His
      only begotten Son. That's the bottom line for me. That He gave me
      eternal life. And through just that alone, I want to live for Him."
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